ENG 389 (Summer
In this class the emphasis will be on the writing of experimental and formally-innovative poetry, that is, non-narrative poetry. We will investigate the experimental, the improvizational, and broaden our horizons about the "materials" of poetry. We will also keep a close eye on poetry as it relates to the Web, including digital and other technologically mediated poetry, sound poetry, and procedural writing. This class will involve reading essays related to form and technique. An anthology of innovative poetry will be assigned. (Reading poetry AS A POET will constitute part of our approach to writing poetry.) Assignments of Web and other electronic sources will also be given. Course content will also consist of additional lectures, films, and out-of-class events. In addition to print poetry, students interested in the production of multimedia and Web-based poetry are welcome. Poetry writing exercises will be a regular part of class. Text: In the American Tree (Silliman, ed.) at Talking Leaves, 3158 Main Street (837-8554).
Grades: 25% class participation, 50% written responses, 25% quizzes.
1. Reading. As the course description indicates, this is a course for writers of poetry who are also readers of poetry. Further, we will consider poetry in the broader concept of "poesis" ... or making. That is, there are a number of art forms (for example, music, painting, digital media arts, etc.) that can also be part of our "reading". We need to keep an open mind about what might help us develop our poetry writing vision. The idea is to see art in its larger context of engaging the materials of the given medium, a fact of great importance to those who make art with words. The reading for this course embodies various approaches to such a poesis. It is absolutely crucial in developing the way we think about poetry, writing, and digital media. It is required that you do ALL reading.
2. Writing assignments. To be handed in each class are TWO assignments, a "response text" AND a "method text". These should be one page each in length TYPED and, as a whole over the semester, constitute your final project. Be prepared to read them in class as reading your work to others forms a core of how we communicate in this class. Take some time with these, they are central to the class and significant to your grade. MARK EACH PAGE "RESPONSE TEXT, DATE" AND "METHOD TEXT, DATE" ACCORDINGLY.
Response text. Response texts express your thoughts and feelings on the reading. Take time to think about the issues, styles, concepts, and materials the reading and essay present to you as a writer. Write a one-page prose condensation of your thoughts and reactions to the reading. Note: This can be informal in tone. Research is not required.
Method text. Choose ONE text from choices on syllabus. Write one page of poetry responding to the text. Note source text at the top of the page. Ideally, your response will explore the possibilities of the method of the chosen work. You may also take an alternative approach in your response. REQUIRED: Two-line explanation of how your method *works* in relation to the poem.
For my class what I'd like to see is that you, sticking to the one-page page limits, take the methods very seriously. Really try to see what a given poet's method is and then let the method drive your writing assignments, rather than falling back on your normal way of writing. I would like to see students let the methods break apart their normal creative patterns, voices, and narrative modes, so that this class can be a discovery of what new possibilities lie beneath, the unacknowledged rich veins of creative possibility, an opportunity to get outside of one's normal practice to expand one's perspective.
3. Additional oral presentations may be also required.
GENERAL COURSE NOTES
Attendance in the course and participation in discussion are crucial. As this is a summer course and each class counts as a week of regular semester class, students may only have one unexcused absence; one letter grade will be subtracted for each additional unexcused absence. Required attendance includes all lectures, films, and out-of-class events. Content of these events will be covered on quizzes and exams. Except for documented emergencies, THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO CLASS ATTENDANCE POLICIES!
You must complete all readings and turn in all written assignments. Points will be deducted from your grade if you fail to satisfy these course requirements. LATE ASSIGNMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
Roll can be taken at the beginning and/or at the end of class or at any time during class. Since class is viewed as a collaborative learning experience, your presence is crucial. Therefore, you are expected to attend every class, to be on time, to stay until the end of class, and to return promptly from any breaks. Any material missed due to tardiness or late returns from break may affect your grade.
You are required to check the online syllabus each night before class. If you can also check the syllabus during the day preceding each class that will also be helpful.
You are required to provide to the professor a valid e-mail address of your chosing. Additional details about assignments and other class-related activities will be sent via e-mail. You are required to check your e-mail frequently. NOTE: MESSAGES SENT TO THE PROFESSOR MUST HAVE "ENG 389" AS PART OF THE SUBJECT LINE.
Class content may include out-of-class events, guest speakers, videos, sound events, performances, and other non-book materials. You are encouraged to take notes on these events as they are a crucial part of the course content. Some out-of-class events may have additional expenses associated with them. As the cost of text books for this course is relatively low, you are asked to have some flexibility when it comes to such costs.
Quizzes, exams, and course assignments include not only the text but all material presented in class, including lectures by the professor, videos, oral reports by other students, study guides, and assigned out-of-class events.
Extra credit opportunities are to be taken seriously. In my experience students with the highest grades usually have also completed, when available, extra credit opportunities. Take advantage of these when and if they are available.
KEEP YOUR OWN COPIES OF ALL MATERIALS HANDED IN. Material may not be returned and you are responsible for proving material was turned in when due.
Requirements for this course are someone rigorous. That is, I do not expect you to sit in the audience and be sponges. I expect you to be AN ACTIVE PART of the new threshholds we are crossing. I expect you to be proactive and involved. In return, I anticipate that you will have a most uncommon learning experience, ripe with the richness of new artistic frontiers.
ORAL REPORTS (IF APPLICABLE)
The Oral report should last 10 minutes. The report should contain: (1) brief biography of the artists or brief history of the topic; (2) social context narrative (see following explanation); and (3) a "reading" of a short piece of work by the artist. The biography should be brief, giving the most significant moments for the subject. The social context narrative should give a picture of the artist or topic in his/her/ira time, with special attention to the social context (i.e., what was happening in the world surrounding the artist). It should illustrate the artistic context for the artist or of the topic. For example, if a musician, what engagement did the artist have with the literary world. What were the movies, novels, dominant art world movements, political fears, social conditions of the time. If a poet, what music were they listening to? The "reading" means to take a poem or piece of music and give an explanation of, based on the insights you gained from the biography/history and the social context narrative, take us through the piece and show what it might be trying to express, what is behind its ideas, what are its nuances. NOTES: Please make sure your presentation is between 8-10 minutes. Do a rehearsal and time it in advance of your presentation. You should provide a handout for the class. You should also hand in a one-page summary of your main points to me.
NOTE: There will be two out-of-class events. We will schedule these, as much as possible, to conform to your schedules.
1. June 30. INTRODUCTION. TOPIC:
Materials of poetry, "reading" poetry, "Live at the Ear".
2. July 2. TOPIC: Poetry Experiments
3. July 7. TOPIC: Grenier,
4. July 9. TOPIC: (Un) Speech.
Hejinian, Perelman, Day, Melnick
5. July 14. TOPIC: Palmer,
Price, Robinson, Silliman, Armantrout
6. July 16. TOPIC: (Mis) Representation.
Harryman, Bernheimer, Benson, Davidson
7. July 21. TOPIC: "What's
interesting about a group of words". Mandel,
Bromige, Rodefer, Coolidge
8. July 23. TOPIC: Arrangement.
9. July 28. TOPIC: Sentences.
Andrews, Ward, Inman, Seaton
10. July 30. TOPIC: Writing
and method. Susan Howe, Dreyer, Gottlieb, Darragh,
Beckett, Fanny Howe, Mason
[OPTIONAL SESSION. TOPIC: Method
and language. Mayer, Davies, Hunt, Sherry, DiPalma,
11. Aug 4. TBA
I'd rather risk destroying
the whole language than bore myself (Coolidge 481)